Eric Grace

Posted on Posted in Letters of support

Supporting Hermann’s Jazz Club
I discovered the unique gem that is Hermann’s Jazz Club shortly after moving to Victoria in 1988. It was then already three years old and an oasis for jazz-thirsty wanderers. Unpretentious and welcoming, it seemed designed to make every patron feel immediately at home: whether a solitary tourist looking to fill an evening with drinks and great live music; a local family dining out — perhaps related to one of the musicians; a group of work friends finishing the week; or other musicians or music students, there to appreciate and learn from the talent on display. It’s easy to take a city’s local attractions for granted, but during the nearly 30 years that have passed since my first visit to Hermann’s I have come to value and respect this Victorian institution more than ever. Over the course of those years I’ve heard some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world play there, in every style and combination from intimate solos and trios to big bands with more than 20 musicians overflowing the small stage located on the angle of the L-shaped room. I’ve been to concerts that are packed, the atmosphere lively and party-like. I’ve been to concerts with maybe only a dozen seats filled, the music more esoteric, the atmosphere intimate and reverent. Always, always, my experiences there have been worthwhile and, more often than I could hope, even ecstatic. Over the years I’ve also come to know, or at least recognize, many of the regular musicians, staff, and local fans at Hermann’s. I’ve chatted with visitors from afar: made easy since the flexible German-style beer hall layout quickly seduces all who enter with a comforting embrace. Talking to visitors, and from my own experiences in jazz clubs across North America and Europe, I can confidently say that Hermann’s Jazz Club is one of the best to be found anywhere, matching those in much larger cities such as New York, Toronto, Montreal, and Paris. Victorians can justly boast of it with pride.
Eric Grace Victoria, BC